Welcome to 2019!

Happy New Year, everyone! Can you believe another year has come and gone? As a friend said recently, “I’m not sure how we survived 2018, but I’m just thankful we did.”

As we come up with goals and resolutions for this year, let’s remember that the new year signifies a fresh start. If there’s something you’d like to change about yourself, such as a certain habit, mindset, or perspective, there’s no better time than today – the first day of 2019 – to make that change. As 2018 reminded us, life can be short, stressful, and often unfair. There’s no point in waiting for the right moment to better yourself, because that moment may never come!

To use a cheesy (but still relevant) quote from Gandhi, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” So what are you waiting for? 🙂

5 Important Reasons to Start Wearing Sunscreen Every Day


The statistics may not always be the same, but the message is – you need to take care of your skin. Source: http://becancerpositive.org/wear-sunscreen/.

Show of hands: how many of you know that your skin is the largest organ in your body? Now, did you also know that the sun’s powerful rays can cause irreparable damage to your skin, sometimes resulting in skin cancer? Yikes. I’m all for soaking up some vitamin D, but for the sake of your own skin, make sure you do it wisely! A general rule of thumb is that you should apply sunscreen if you’ll be out in the sun for more than 20 minutes, and that it should have an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of at least 15. Here are five super-important reasons to reach for the sun cream on a daily basis:

1. It’s one of the best ways to prevent skin aging. According to skincancer.org, “Sunscreen is one of the keys to radiant, youthful-looking skin…an estimated 90% of skin aging is caused by the sun.” 90%?! That fact alone should be enough to make us want to apply sunscreen every day! If you have sensitive skin or wear makeup on a daily basis, try to find a daily moisturizer or foundation with built-in SPF. That way, you’ll get sun protection without the shine or residue that can come from heavy sun creams. Bonus points if your sunscreen is all-natural (find some here)!

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Hello, September!

Autumn is one of the prettiest times of the year. Source: www.lovethispic.com.

Autumn is one of the prettiest times of the year. Source: http://www.lovethispic.com.

There’s no denying that autumn in Canada is one of the best times of the year. Crisp red and orange leaves crunching under your feet, Halloween decorations making their yearly debut, the faint scent of apples and bonfires in the air…how could anyone not love it? For me, the colourful leaves signal new beginnings and the end of lazy summer days; it’s time to break out those knit sweaters, take on a new semester and indulge in various pumpkin-flavoured treats. It also means that my birthday is coming up (yay!), although this year 23 is looking more scary than exciting. (Pretty sure my grandparents were married, working and having kids at that age.) Still, nothing can stop me from loving this month! It’s such a magical time of year, second only to our beautiful snowy winters.

What did all of you get up to this summer? Mine was pretty laid-back – we hosted relatives from out of town and spent a couple of days in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and I caught up on several TV shows, both old and new (everything from Gilmore Girls to Lost to Chicago P.D.). I took some time to discover new music, work on my photography skills and discover interesting places around the city, all of which I’ll continue to document on my Instagram page (@theurbangazelle). Oh, and I was recently accepted to the in-school mentoring program with Big Brothers Big Sisters, which is really exciting! The organization is currently working on finding a young girl for me to mentor, which should be a fun and rewarding experience for both of us. Tips from seasoned mentors on what to expect would be greatly appreciated!

So, back to the topic at hand: the end of summer 2015. The time seemed to pass quite slowly for me, though I’m sure for many of you it just flew by. So before you run out for your first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season, take a few moments to reflect on what you learned over the past few months. Even if you didn’t experience any life-altering moments, hopefully you feel like you grew in some way. Did you get to check a destination off your travel list? Make some great friends? Kick butt at a job or internship? Whatever it is, be proud of it and make sure to keep crossing goals off your list this fall. Until next time, friends!

Friday Favourites: Face Products With SPF

Now that summer’s here, we can finally enjoy some fun in the sun! Beaches, parks, exotic getaways…wherever you go, I’m sure you’ll come back with a fantastic tan. Lucky you, but keep in mind that too much sun can wreak havoc on our skin through overexposure to harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Not only can they cause skin cancer, they can leave us with wrinkled, saggy, leathery skin. (Not cute.) While our bodies certainly need sunscreen, I think we often forget that it’s just as important to slather our faces with it. Below, I’ve listed SPF-filled alternatives to some of the face products that you probably already use. Be sure to leave a comment recommending your must-have face and body products that offer sun protection!

1. Moisturizer

Aim for SPF 30 or higher to shield yourself from those pesky UV rays. Moisturizer is a necessary step in keeping your skin soft and supple, so why not buy one with SPF and protect your skin while you’re at it? These days you can easily find face products that fulfill your every need, whether your skin is aging, dry, oily, sensitive, acne-prone..you name it. Drugstores have everything! Contrary to popular belief, though, it’s not just women who should be using a daily moisturizer/sunscreen. Men, your skin needs to be protected from the sun as well – maybe this summer you can decide to use a basic sunscreen every time you’ll be outside for more than 15 minutes.

2. Lip Balm

This is something we need but always forget. Wrinkled lips are not attractive; luckily, you can find lip balms with SPF 15 at your local drugstore for just a few bucks. Apply it to dry lips when you’re outside and craving some moisture – you probably won’t remember it has SPF in it, so it won’t feel like a chore. Girls, pick up a tinted version for a pop of colour! Guys, check out places like Wal-Mart and Target for basic lip balms that offer sun protection.

3. Makeup (foundation)

Again, this is an important one. I use a powder foundation containing SPF 15, so not only does the lightweight makeup stay in place on a hot day, it adds a protective layer on top of my moisturizer. Simple yet smart, right? The coolest part is that if you don’t like (or remember…) to use moisturizer, the foundation has you covered. Additionally, BB and CC creams are great for those of you ladies who want primer, tinted moisturizer and sun protection in one handy product.

So grab your sunscreen, a good book, a cold drink and go enjoy the great outdoors. Don’t forget that sunglasses, hats and light scarves look great and provide essential sun protection. Happy Canada Day and Happy Fourth of July to those of you celebrating this weekend!